Advertisement

Hams bone up at Hagerstown gathering

Amateur radio operators finally meet those they've been talking to

Amateur radio operators finally meet those they've been talking to

July 30, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

Ham radio operators can know each other for decades without meeting.

Page Pyne, who helped organize Saturday's amateur radio convention in Hagerstown, said he first met Bob Josuweit of Philadelphia at a convention in 1976.

It was hard to forget the circumstances. The American Legion was holding a convention at the same Philadelphia hotel. A form of pneumonia spread, killing 34 people among the 221 who contracted it, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Web site.

The men have kept in touch often since then - by radio. Saturday, though, was the first time they had seen each other in 30 years.

Advertisement

"There's people (I know) that I've seen the first time today," said Karin Christensen of Boonsboro, who helped organize Saturday's convention, too.

Pyne said Maryland has held state American Radio Relay League ham radio conventions before, but always in conjunction with other activities, so the educational sessions are relegated to being a side attraction.

This year, "we're standing on our own legs," said Pyne, who lives in Hagerstown.

He said that about 100 people attended the convention, which was held at Otterbein United Methodist Church on East Franklin Street. A British Columbia, Canada, resident who heard about the convention while on vacation attended.

Sessions covered satellites, home projects and how to spread the word about what ham operators do.

Pyne said amateur radio can be a hobby, which is why many people join, or a communication service during emergencies.

The Antietam Radio Association, which has about 80 members, has agreements with Hagerstown Regional Airport and the American Red Cross to help in emergency situations, he said.

Christensen said ham radio operators relay messages when needed, and act as lookouts when bad weather is approaching.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|